An Australian aircraft hunting for the missing Malaysian jet picked up a new possible underwater signal on Thursday in the same area search crews detected sounds earlier in the week that were consistent with an aircraft’s black boxes.
The Australian navy P-3 Orion, which has been dropping sound-locating buoys into the water near where the original sounds were heard, picked up a “possible signal” that may be from a man-made source, said Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search off Australia’s west coast.
“The acoustic data will require further analysis overnight,” Houston said in a statement.
If confirmed, this would be the fifth underwater signal picked up in the hunt for Flight 370, which vanished over a month ago on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.
On Tuesday, the Australian vessel Ocean Shield picked up two underwater sounds, and an analysis of two other sounds detected in the same general area on Saturday showed they were consistent with a plane’s flight recorders, or “black boxes.”
The Australian navy has been dropping buoys from planes in a pattern near where the Ocean Shield’s signals were heard.
Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy said each buoy is dangling a hydrophone listening device about 300 meters (1,000 feet) below the surface. The hope, he said, is the buoys will help better pinpoint the signals.